A Survival Kit for the First Day of College Every Freshman Needs

Tyson Schritter / Find the College Right for You! »

Your first day of college classes can be a stressful experience. But just as with all the stress that you’re sure to experience in college, you can thrive with good preparation! Even though you never know what could happen or what you might need, there are a few things you can do to set yourself up for success. Take a look at this survival kit to make sure you are prepared for anything!

Explore Your Campus Explore College Campus Before Classes Start

Nothing’s stopping you from exploring your campus before your classes start. It doesn’t make a great first impression with your professor if you show up late on the first day just because you were lost. Get familiar with the school and map out which path you’ll want to take to get to your classes. And if you plan on driving to school, you can also check out the parking spots available to you. Especially since campus parking usually fills up quickly, you should find out where all of your options are.

Pack for the Weather

The unexpected late-summer shower is always threatening to hit. Who knows? It may come pouring down on the first day! Just in case, pack an umbrella or poncho even if the forecast says otherwise. I never left home without an umbrella in my backpack; it was always there when I needed it. Also, if you tend to get cold easily, bring a light jacket or hoodie with you, because the classroom can be really cold.

Bring a Snack and/or Money for Food Bring a Snack and/or Money for Food

It’s possible that the first day will be so hectic that you might not remember or have time to eat lunch. Believe me, hunger pangs can not only make you hangry, but they can also spoil your first day altogether.

Having a snack with you might be able to hold you off until you have the opportunity to eat some food. Put some crackers or a protein bar in your backpack in case you need it.

You could also bring cash for vending machines or on-campus convenience stores. No cash? That’s okay; some vending machines might also accept cards (something you might be able to investigate when you explore campus!).

You might also want to put some gum or mints in your backpack. Not only can it freshen your breath as you make first impressions, but it is also a great tool to make a new friend. Everyone is a gum-moocher, so someone is bound to ask you if they can have a piece.

Pack a Water Bottle

You might be surprised how thirsty you can get when you’re in school, so bring a water bottle with you. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, staying hydrated is a good habit to get into. Universities usually have bottle-filling stations around campus, making it more convenient to reduce waste with eco-friendly, reusable bottles. I recommend buying one that is leak proof and insulated so that you always have cold water available.

Pack Your School Supplies

On your first day, I would suggest bringing any school supplies you could possibly need. After your first few days of class, you’ll know what specifically you do and don’t need, but it is best to be prepared on the first day! Here are a few things you might want to bring:

  • A folder for handouts
  • A notebook to take notes
  • Pens or pencils and highlighters
  • Notecards
  • Flash drive (You might not need it for the first day, but it would be best to make it a habit always to have a flash drive with you.)

Bring Your Laptop

On your first day of classes, bring your laptop, iPad, or any other electronic device you might use. Make sure to charge them the night before! Always bring your phone and computer charger with you. Even if you charged them beforehand, your device is bound to die before the end of a long day.

Know As Much As You Can Expect

Some of your professors may have contacted you with instructions and/or assignments for you to do before the first day. Whether your school uses Canvas, Blackboard, or Moodle, look for your syllabus to see whether you need to bring anything specific as well. Doing all of this shows your professor that you really care about your education.

Bring Your Confidence!

There’s no reason to be nervous! It’s a lot of people’s first day, and you aren’t alone in this! Introduce yourself to your professors and/or TAs when your class is over, and ask questions if you aren’t sure about something. Professors like it when students are friendly and actually interested in their class. Be yourself, and get excited to start this new journey!

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